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April 24, 2024
Healthy Eating

In a British list of the world’s healthiest foods, he’s the healthiest country

As people get older, they tend to pay more or less attention to their health regimen. After all, those little red arrows on the annual physical examination report always make us face up to this serious problem. Besides, if you do delay retirement in the future, it will be worth living a few more years. As we all know, diet is the most important thing in order to maintain a healthy body. How to eat to keep away from disease and what to eat to live a long life has been a global curiosity.

Well, The other day, I watched a BBC documentary called “The World’s Best Diet – The healthiest” in 2014. To be honest, there were a lot of things in it that really touched me. After visiting countries from the plains of Africa to the South Pacific coast, the hosts, based on the advice of professional dietitians and doctors, ranked diets in 50 countries and territories from “least healthy” to “healthiest” based on factors such as alcohol consumption, excess weight, longevity and diet-related cancers. And personally went to the local ordinary families to check the food reserve for a week, as far as possible to the audience to the most authentic local diet conditions.

Let’s start with the bottom of the list. The unhealthiest diet on this list comes from the Marshall Islands, a beautiful island in the South Pacific. Not only is there a serious obesity problem, but diabetes is very common. The normal range of fasting blood glucose should be 70-110mg/ day and higher than 126mg/dL to be diagnosed as diabetes. Unfortunately, due to poor local conditions and poor medical conditions, the only option for many severe diabetic patients is amputation. So what do people in the Marshall Islands eat? What is causing the health crisis? The host investigated and found that they lived almost entirely on canned food because fresh ingredients were too expensive. (I just want to deeply thank my mother country for allowing me to afford fresh vegetables and meat.) The only fresh meat I can eat on a regular basis is Turkey butt. Experts say that such unhealthy food combined with large amounts of rice is the most deadly, which is the key reason for the high incidence of diabetes in the local population. Yes, rice is not a healthy food. Traditional refined rice has a glycemic index as high as 88, in which carbohydrates are converted into glucose, easily causing large fluctuations in blood sugar after meals. Speaking of this staple food, we have to reveal our country’s ranking in advance.

Also at the bottom of the list, along with the Marshall Islands, is Mexico. It’s a fat nation dominated by Coca-Cola. Because water is more expensive than drinks, the average local drinks a large two-litre bottle of Coke every day, consuming the equivalent of 45 sugar cubes in one sitting. The hardest hit are children, whose sugary drinks contribute to some of the highest obesity rates in the world and their teeth. Ironically, it is still widely advertised in hospitals and even dentists themselves. Mexican dinner tables are full of cookies, chips, cakes, and fresh vegetables and fruits are rare. Trans fatty acids are known to be the “invisible killer” of snacks, with high consumption linked to obesity, overweight, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Commercial refined food is also rampant in some economically developed countries and regions. Sometimes, it turns out, affluence doesn’t bring diversity of food choices, but extreme uniformity of diet. The only difference between rich and poor may be the variety of junk food. Australia has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Great Britain did not fare much better: Scotland, at 37; Northern Ireland, 36th; Wales, 35th; England, 34th. It is not difficult to find that the traditional healthy eating habits in many places are being mercilessly eaten by the new rules of the commercial society.

“New World syndrome” arises when junk food has spread across the globe, trapping people’s taste buds. And all this has something to do with the United States. With the invasion of American food culture, more and more countries have become members of the “unhealthy eating alliance”. Venezuela comes in at 42, Argentina at 41, Turkey at 40, and Hungary at 39, just to name a few.

It might be more aptly titled “How America Brought Obesity and Disease to the World.” The United States, home to junk fast food and Coke, is no less unhealthy. It makes sense that American food, which requires fries and burgers, came in seventh from the bottom. Everyone knows that too much alcohol is bad for you, but just how bad it is, it’s telling to see where Russia sits on this list — the heart of a fighting nation’s culture, where binge drinking is widespread and where folk sayings like “drinking is good for you,” like cognac, cure heart disease, Vodka can relieve headaches and so on. A quarter of Russian men die of liver disease, alcohol poisoning, accidents and drunken fights as a result. In fact, the global authoritative medical journal “The Lancet” declared war on alcohol as early as 2018, and its published report clearly stated that the safe dose of alcohol is 0. In other words, not drinking alcohol is the healthiest thing to do, and that includes all kinds of medicinal alcohol. When it comes to drinking, South Koreans are also unequivocal.

The East Asian country, with a population of just over 50 million, is the world’s number one drinker, according to statistics. That alone would put them at the bottom of the list, but their adherence to a traditional diet of plenty of vegetables propelled them up the rankings: 13th in the world. (One question: Isn’t Korea also a big rice eater? Why is it ahead of our country? Incidentally, South Korea is also one of the slimmest countries, with the lowest obesity rates in the world.

Backward primitive to protect health? In fact, there are two kinds of diets in economically backward areas. One is that people are so poor that they can only afford to eat junk food as mentioned above. The other is so poor that they can only chew vegetable leaves, as in Ethiopia. The wet market there is a veritable “vegetable” market, with all kinds of vegetables and no other ingredients to be seen. Scientific studies have shown that the rate at which waste is removed from the body’s digestive system is negatively correlated with the risk of developing bowel cancer. The benefit of the typical Ethiopian high-fiber diet is that they have a healthy stomach. But nutrition experts clearly agree that meat is still an essential part of the diet, which may be why the African country didn’t make the top 20. The Maasai tribe, at number 23, do the opposite, drinking almost exclusively meat, cow’s blood and milk. Although they are “high protein + high fat + low carbohydrate + low dietary fiber”, such an extreme diet does not have a negative effect on their bodies due to the low carbohydrate intake.

It’s very similar to the traditional Inuit diet that we’ve been talking about. Muslim Morocco has one of the lowest rates of liver cancer in the world, thanks to a religious rule that says Muslims cannot drink alcohol. Peppermint tea, a popular healthy drink among locals, is in the upper middle of the list at number 20. Israel, one place ahead of Morocco, also benefited from religion. With all the rules and taboos surrounding Jewish food, people who live there are excluded from all kinds of junk food. An American religious group called the Seventh-day Adventists goes even further. Most Sabbatarians don’t drink, smoke, eat meat, and even drink coffee decaffeinated… With such clean living habits, it is a worthy ranking of 4th in the world. They also had a diet high in fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and raisins, which also seemed to contribute to their health scores.

Many people believe that “eating spicy food” is unhealthy, associating it with heat and breakouts. However, medical science has not found a definite link between the two, and has even suggested that sugary drinks are actually more likely to cause acne. The documentary also argues that spicy foods can be healthy in moderation, as some of the chemicals they contain can boost metabolism and release pleasant hormones called endorphins. As a result, Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia (No. 17), Malaysia (No. 16), Thailand (No. 15) and Vietnam (No. 14) all feature highly on the list. In addition, there are two other healthy foods in Asia, such as coconut, which is abundant in the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka, and turmeric, which is used in Indian cuisine. Sri Lanka, which relies on coconut in its diet, was also ranked 13th on the list because of some scientific opinion that the tropical fruit helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

Note that the coconut in question is raw, fresh coconut, not sweetened coconut milk drinks. The curry that Indians eat, to be precise, is a condiment called “turmeric powder” that is supposed to have some health benefits, and is said to be used to prevent and treat certain cancers. Long time ago, “clean and hygienic” Indian food made it to the top tier of “world’s healthiest food” (ranked 11th).

There is one country in the rankings that is as puzzling as India’s: France at number eight. The French are famous for their love of food, and many of them are high in fat and calories, such as sausage, foie gras, caviar, cheese, etc. Oddly enough, most French people are fit and healthy, and have one of the lowest rates of heart disease in Europe. The French diet is high in fat, but low in carbohydrates and sugar, so the overall nutritional structure is reasonable, experts say. The Cambridge researchers also found that some strains of cheese have anti-inflammatory effects on the body’s cardiovascular system. In fact, in the past, the French thought fat was unhealthy, so they increased their intake of carbohydrates and ended up getting sick more often. Other studies have suggested that the secret to keeping the French slim and healthy is also down to their attitude to food. For example, they pay special attention to three meals a day, have a good eating atmosphere, and spend at least 2 hours a day on eating; Eat small meals and almost no fast food or snacks. So when the host presented a French chef with his English lunch (a quick sandwich), he was instantly scorned: Eat fish! Eat fish! The widely accepted health belief that eating more fish is good for you is also proved in the documentary. Countries with a high proportion of these two things in their national diets are very high on the list, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark (joint sixth place), so it makes sense that the “new Nordic diet” is making waves around the world. As we all know, fish is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich, high-quality protein rich in essential Omega-3 fatty acids.

The health-boosting fat has been touted in recent years for its role in preventing cardiovascular disease, promoting brain development and easing depression. In addition, the typical Nordic table includes plenty of fresh, natural ingredients such as seasonal vegetables, berries, oats and rye. Another country that is particularly healthy because it eats fish is our neighbor Japan. The famous country of longevity ranks fifth in the world on the list. The Japanese would be even higher on the list if they ate less soy sauce. Soy sauce is high in sodium, and a high-salt diet can lead to moderate death, which is one of the top three causes of death in Japan. As one of the most admired dietary patterns in modern nutrition, the global popularity of the Mediterranean diet also earned its rightful place on the list. Italy and Greece dominate the traditional Mediterranean diet, taking second and third place respectively. Highly processed packaged foods are rare on the dinner table in both countries, and the daily diet of most families is dominated by large amounts of legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, moderate amounts of dairy (cheese and cheese) and wine, and small amounts of red meat. The prevailing view is that the Mediterranean diet is good for health because it is high in unsaturated fatty acids and fiber and low in saturated fatty acids. In addition, a large intake of olive oil is one of their health secrets. Researchers have found that the cooking oil, known as liquid gold, not only helps stabilise blood sugar levels but also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.

What is the world’s healthiest way to eat? At the end of the earth. Iceland is one of the cleanest places in the world and has a high national health Index. Many of today’s so-called diseases of civilization seem to be isolated from this pristine land. Male life expectancy in Iceland is 81 years, the highest in the world. This is in stark contrast to the statistic that one in four Russian men will die before the age of 55. And one of the reasons Icelanders live so long and healthy lives is because of a food we keep coming back to again and again: fish. Iceland is a fishing country, people living there can eat a variety of fish, and adults will give their children cod liver oil every day as an extra supplement. Their concept of eating is also worth learning. For example, they stick to the traditional diet, which is mostly homemade or made in small family workshops, rather than refined and convenient food. Even snacks are healthy. Icelandic yogurt, a local dairy specialty that kids often eat, is high in protein and calcium and low in fat. In short, the essence of the Icelandic diet is to minimize processing, avoid steaming if you can eat it raw, and avoid frying and frying if you can. Because the more food is processed, the more nutrients are lost, and the less healthy it is.

At this point, the documentary is basically over. Looking at the top of the list, we can see that there’s nothing particularly magical about the world’s top healthy diets, nothing we haven’t heard of, and nothing we haven’t eaten. The Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Japan, and France, for example, all have in common a commitment to traditional local eating habits, simple cooking, substituting whole grains and legumes for refined rice and pasta, eating good fats (olive oil/fish) and plenty of dietary fiber (fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes), and staying away from highly processed packaged foods. Avoid high levels of sugar, salt and alcohol. It boils down to getting back to the roots of food. One sentence in the film should ring a bell:”While individual diets are becoming more diverse, globally we are starting to eat the same foods.”

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